THE STORY OF A NATURAL POOL

  1. Four years ago, my dad built a natural pool. He needed a road surface laid and just decided to make a pool in the spot where they got the dirt from. As you do.
  2. A natural pool is filtered by plants and water movement. No chemicals. It needs rain to keep the plants alive and the water circulating.
  3. Early on, this wasn't a problem. Here I am, queen of the tadpoles.
  4. As summer dragged on, the pool never got full enough to sustain the plants. We swum in it, like you would a clean dam. But time was ticking...
  5. Over winter it got low. It looked amazing, but the water couldn't circulate.
  6. It was good for a sunset snap, but no swimming...
  7. As the years went by, the pool filled with sludge. First a slippery silt layer. Then something more nefarious, excreted by a thousand delighted frogs who made it their home.
  8. Now we have had rain. Rain to fill it fit to burst. But tackling that sludge makes my father shrink and retreat.
  9. We have built retaining walls. Plant channels. A baby pool lined with fake grass.
  10. It is as beautiful as ever, but we can't swim in it. Not since that first year.
  11. And so it sits, a giant, expensive frog pond. My father's folly, he says ruefully, but I can't laugh about it.
  12. I remember one summer, just one, in which I walked around the kitchen in a towel wet from swimming in the backyard. Pear cider stuffed into the floating chair.
  13. I can't give up on it, this pool we poured our hopes into. So many days of hauling rocks with my dad and talking about plumbing and slow leaks. Cups of water, sweat beading. It was not folly to me.
  14. This is my view as I write this list. How thankful I am for it, frogs and all. This funny oversized project that was only ever almost right feels like home to me. It makes my heart sing, even so, and still.